Is the pay-TV industry ready for digital transformation?

Digital transformation is critical to future-proofing the pay-TV industry, and the industry acknowledges its need to transform.

Digital transformation is critical to future-proofing the pay-TV industry.

And according to the latest findings from the Pay-TV Innovation Forum, the industry acknowledges its need to transform. It’s the only way operators will be able to deliver the full range of digital products and services that viewers demand.

But what’s on the agenda for operators right now? What sort of challenges and opportunities do they see ahead of them? We spoke with several executives from across the global industry to get their views on the roles that technology, content and commercial opportunities play in transforming the industry.

Kjetil Rohde Jakobsen, Global Director Products and Partners, iflix believes that data is now the key to all facets of any pay-TV business. “We have billions of data points coming into our data centre - data served by telcos, data served from non-telcos, data served from our own infrastructure, billing success rates, average wallet size, all down to product level.

“We process this every day and it is the foundation of every meeting that we have in the company.It’s also crucial for our advertisers too – you can’t sell ads without providing reconcilable data.”

Alptug Copuroglu, Managing Director of BluTV International & Global Partnerships, BluTV agrees: “Rather than just having data analytics for the sake of having data analytics, our focus is on working out the business impact that analytics can deliver, whether that be helping to reduce churn – by highlighting when we should be approaching a customer with a new offer – or personalising the content offering.”

Others are simply looking for new ways streamline content discovery. Mario de Oliveira Madeira, CTO at Nuevo Siglo in Colombia, says, “We have a library of 10 thousand titles – it is impossible for customers to look through all this without the right tools. So, two years ago, we acquired software to start offering our viewers content recommendations based on their previous content choices.

“The recommendation engine has been highly successful”, he continues. “The majority of content that viewers watch is now recommended by our platform. We are also constantly improving the metadata we feed into the platform, to improve the quality of its suggestions.”

Overall, company culture is the biggest factor holding back our digital transformation. We need to work to make the company more comfortable with constant fast-paced change – and excited about the opportunities that brings.

Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, Zee5Global, meanwhile is considering the workforce challenges that digital transformation entails.

“It was very clear early on that to run a digital business we needed a new, digitally savvy workforce, who use digital services daily and can provide their expert opinions about user experience and UI”, she says.

“We also had to change our approach to marketing. Anybody who runs a digital business knows how important performance marketing is, so we also needed to hire performance marketing experts.”

She continues, “We learned it the hard way from our previous attempt to develop an OTT service that the pace of change in digital businesses is much faster than in other media. When we launched Zee5, we moved our team out of our existing office into WeWork offices.

Anand concludes, “We've hired a young, digitally savvy team and adopted a very flat organisation structure – for example, the decision-makers sit with the rest of the team and are constantly in touch with what is happening on the ground.”

Naturally, there are other hurdles to consider as part of a digital transformation journey. For example, over half of executives interviewed as part of 2019’s European Pay-TV Innovation Forum believe that costly legacy platforms represent a major operational challenge.

More broadly, deciding when, where and how to change also remains a key challenge, as does identifying suitable partners to provide support and expertise.

But challenges aside, there are significant opportunities in store for the pay-TV industry – if they’re bold enough to make the leap.

To find out more about the Pay-TV Innovation Forum, and how NAGRA can support your digital transformation strategies, click here.